Yes, it’s a quick non-Transformers review, for the first time in ages. Largely because I had a lot of thoughts on the latest entry in the Halloween series, especially after talking to my good friends Alex and Umar about it (whose own, more professional reviews you can read by clicking on their names).
I’ve also found the overall reaction pretty interesting; people seem to be pretty much divided between thinking its an absolute travesty and those who have loved it for daring to be different. It is not a film that seems to be inspiring much of a middle ground, and its hard to tell yet where the general consensus is going to settle.
So, after the read more break, you’re going to get my unfiltered spoiler thoughts. All after one viewing though, so maybe I’ll look back on this after the disc comes out with deep embarrassment.
All ready for spoilers?
Just not the evil you were expecting.
Now, I have no problem with a film series trying something different. I’d say Halloween III is amongst the best of the original sequels and that’s entirely unrelated to the other films. But if you’re doing a self-styled “Final” Halloween film, I think its fair to say that people don’t really go in wanting something A Bit Different, they want a Road Runner cartoon with an 18 certificate where that wacky scamp Michael Myers kills people in increasingly silly ways before getting his comeuppance.
Halloween Kills had already suggested the people at Blumhouse were already bored of that format though (frankly, I think both sequels might have been better if Myers had died in the 2018 movie), and this takes it to the next level by barely having Michael Myers in it.
Instead, this is a film about a guy in his early 20s called Corey (Rohan Campbell), who in 2019 accidentally causes the death of small child in a way that looks highly suspicious and, though he’s found innocent, this ostracises him from the town of Haddonfield so much, it sets him on the path to trying to become the new Michael Myers. Something sped up by him starting to date Allyson and then finding the real Myers in a sewer, living a quite life as an old man until this kid shows up to remind him how good killing is.
I honestly think this film started life as a non-Halloween horror-comedy about someone deciding to become a Michael Myers style killer and being confronted by the realities of that. And there’s a good idea there that does create some nice blackly comedic scenes, including a very strong opening with the accidental death of the kid. It’s also quite fun to see someone trying to be an unstoppable force and slipping and tripping all over the place, with only Michael showing up, seemingly just for the fun of it, meaning he manages to kill anyone at all before his final transformation after taking the mask.
But again, A New Killer isn’t what you want from the “Final” Michael Myers film, and the real problem is the film is absolutely convinced Corey is a character we are all deeply invested in, so most of the first hour in incredibly boring as Campbell does so “I AM ACTING” monologues for his showreel and pretty much nothing else happens.
You also never remotely buy his relationship with Allyson, just making her seem a complete idiot, especially as someone who really should take a long time to trust after what she’s been through.
The Corey plot does get a decent ending with the “I called an ambulance… FOR YOU” moment, but he’s also pretty quickly forgotten once Laurie does get the better of him and finally, we get her face-off with Myers.
Otherwise, you’d never know this town is tormented over Michael Myers till they all turn out at the end for his funeral procession in a very unintentionally funny scene.
And that’s odd when you think about all the things that have happened since 2018 in real life that would make paranoia in a small town even worse. Imagine being in lockdown for a year knowing Michael Myers could be in there with you.
So, what is good here? The actual kills have some very nice moment in them, especially a gloriously gross moment with a tongue. But the real MVP remains Jamie Lee Curtis. The original Halloween endures over other slashers because they just lucked into casting one of the best actors of her generation. And for every one of these she has done, however much there are ones she’d rather be doing anything else; she has always been fully committed. And when it comes to a film she’s a producer on, we’re getting her A game. The best moment for the Corey plot is a simple yet very tense scene of her chatting to Corey that has all the drama and simmering undercurrents the rest of it is so desperate for but never manages.
And as for the ending? Well, I’ve seen it called brave… But look, we’re in an era now where James Bond can be exploded, and the film still end with “James Bond will return.” Film makers are very aware that audiences can and do accept multiple reboots, relaunches and resets. And the Halloween series has contributed a lot to that. They can “Definitively” kill Michael Myers safely knowing he’ll be back in a new film within five years, and with every possibility it’ll be a new sequel to the 1978 one that ignores all the other sequels because the Halloween series loves to do that.
Also, yes, Michael Myers being fed into a grinder looks pretty final. But in previous films he’s survived being in the middle of an exploding hospital (something Donald Pleasence also brushed off) and being decapitated. And in a film that plays with the question of is Michael Myers a man who brings out the worst in people, or a genuinely infectious force of evil that spreads amongst us, you could even do a sequel to this one fairly easily.
And let’s be really brutal here, for a film that genuinely seems to think it’s being clever and sophisticated and telling a very different story, there’s a lot of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.
That this new trilogy has paid out in such a disappointing way is a great shame to me as I love this series, even the bad ones (so maybe I will turn around on this in the end) and I love the 2018 film, despite its very odd take on podcasters. By the end of this one, I was nostalgic for Busta Rhymes.